Tainted trio: Getting what they deserve

Published: November 3, 2011

Former Captain, Salman Butt has been sentenced to 30 months in jail. PHOTO: AFP

No matter how hard Pakistan tries, controversy seems to dog its footsteps. It was a historic day for cricket as a major judgement came forth regarding the spot-fixing scandal. 

The verdict: Salman Butt and Muhammad Asif have been sentenced to 30 months and one year in jail respectively, whereas Muhammad Amir, who pleaded guilty, was sentenced to six months. The once loved cricketers were found guilty of conspiracy to cheat and conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments. This is such a massive and unnecessary tragedy that an already depressed nation did not need to suffer.

What is even more tragic is that the trio had tremendous potential. Asif and Amir were a force to reckon with. They could have led Pakistan to new heights in world cricket but they conspired with Mazhar Majeed to deliver no balls at precise times during the England tour, last year.

Pakistan should have been celebrating the Test win against Sri Lanka and a promotion in the ICC Test rankings, but now the final test match will begin with talks about the verdict and news that ASCU is investigating the team.

I find it terribly disheartening to observe how the Pakistani team-mates turned on each other when it came to saving their own skins. Asif’s testimony clearly showed that he was throwing Salman Butt under the bus. The term ‘team’ and the phrase ‘I got your back’ seems to mean nothing to our nation any more.

“The captain knows. What I have told you the last two days…the captain knows. He is the one who brings them (bowlers) on” said Asif.

Ordinary citizens in Pakistan are deeply devastated with the scandal. To see people they trusted with their country’s colours tarnishing their nation with such blatant disregard has left many bitter and disgusted. One shopkeeper spat “the should be hung” without the slightest hint of mercy while another asid “It should’ve been 20 years instead. They’ve disgraced the whole nation.”

All I can say is that it is a good thing that the trio will not be serving their sentence in Pakistan because they would have been retuning to a country where people are mortified by their deeds and are fuming with vengeance.

I am not sure how to react to this news myself. As a cricket enthusiast, I had been hoping that Amir would be found not guilty and would be seen back on the field after serving his ban. I still watch YouTube videos of some of his deliveries that left batsmen bamboozled.

However, his plea shattered that dream.

This should be a new dawn for Pakistan cricket. Now, we can leave the debate of whether the bans were justified or not behind and move on. Reactions from former players suggest relief as well. Zaheer Abbas said:

‘I am sad about what has happened because it involves sportsmen, but at the same time I think justice has been done because if you do something wrong you pay the price.’

Fixing has been associated with Pakistan cricket for quite some time and the Qayuum report had banned and fined players a few years ago as well. But the PCB failed to take any action in this regard and the cancer spread. Now, we have lost young talents. I just hope that the current board takes notice of this verdict and places checks and balances that prevent future talents from being wasted because of this, unlike the previous boards.

In the meantime, let’s hope that we can unearth more talents like Amir and Asif. Junaid Khan is one to look forward to.

Dr Amyn Malyk

Dr Amyn Malik

A Fulbright Scholar and a graduate of the MPH program at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He tweets @amynmalik

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • muhammad naveed

    it was not just 3 guys.4 other players were in the pocket of mazhar majeed.and those 4 got away with selling out their country.their names were mentioned during the trial but since the icc doesn’t keep on taping the phones of all the cricketers around the world these 4 traitors of our country are now getting away with their crime.Recommend

  • Saad

    I disagree…. There is no point “backing your teammates” when you committed a crime and have been sought. The real strategy would have been to accept they screwed up, just like Amir did and maybe they would have been awarded less sentence also.

    A mistake should always be accepted and and you cant “back” your teammates on that. Recommend

  • Saad

    Also, its criminals who back criminals. Good people don’t do that.Recommend

  • malik

    Why did spot-fixing happen with the Pakistan players? Isn’t it also time to have a look at the environment that seems conducive to breed corrupt thoughts ant then practices?

    I doubt, during the days of Majid Khan, Mushtaq Mohammed, Asif Iqbal, Intikhab Alam, and Wasim Raja, anyone would have even the courage to approach the players to talk about making money. They played the game with all majesty and they did not doubt their skill. It was during the late 80′s and 90′s, that the players sensed their public to be very unforgiving if they lose and the team started to do everything to win at any cost.

    Thus environment in the dressing room got corrupted. Bowlers wanted to win and keep their places by any means. There were no friendly umpires and this made them desperate to seek wickets. The practice of ball-tampering became popular and this was discussed and implemented on the pitch along scientific lines. It is by watching these practices, the youngsters in the team must have come to conclusion that ‘anything goes’ when playing for Pakistan.

    I particularly like to draw attention to the ball-biting video of Shahid Afridi. What is very significant is not the ball-chewing of Afridi but the reaction of Rana and others. No one seemed to bat an eyelid. No one said, “hey, skip, what are you doing !’ The players reacted as if this is something that is not new to them.

    Shoaib Akhtar in his book says how ball tampering is done and he condones the behavior of his team mates by saying all teams do it. It is this approach, ‘all do it yaar‘, has been the reason for the birth of corrupt practices. Since there was so pressure on winning, the players, walked on the grey areas, deluding themselves that they are doing it for giving happiness to their fans, always sure that they can get away with it.

    So, in my humble view, first came ball tampering, then match fixing and now spot fixing, each a logical consequence of the one preceding which gave them reassurance that they can get away with it. If we had addressed the ball tampering issue right at the beginning, then we won’t be at this position now. That is why, the charge that spot fixing happens all over the world is a bit difficult to accept.Recommend

  • Anum

    Mazhar Majeed has said many times that the Sydney test was also fixed, why aren’t they investigating that?
    I remember how shocking was the defeat, when we (the fans) had no doubt that that Pakistan would win at any cost. At the time too some tails were wagging that there is something fishy about the loss, especially the fact that Kamran Akmal kept dropping catches of Hussey. Please ICC investigate that match and unearth the corrupt players and bring them to justice!Recommend

  • muskaan

    these 3 players are such stupid and shameless, im sure it was their home training what they did and showed before world…

    they live in pakistan, grow up in pakistan, study in pakistan, using country’s/nation’s money for playing cricket and getting all kind of best available facilities from pakistan and than when they are having paki uniform, when they are able to represent pakistan than they stupid sell pakistan just for the sake of ponds,,

    salman butt was not able for paki team member and he got captaincy just because of source and nothing. his cricketing record shows how much he was able for being a paki cricket team member…
    these stupids disgrace pakistan in the world… and now they and their families saying very easily that they are very innocent.. their families never think when these players made illegal money, their families never asked them that from where you are getting such a huge amount of money. how they are building new homes, buying cars and getting more money.. now their family trying to protect them by telling lie…
    shame on these players and their families… who born these type of stupid, who sell their country… mean they sell their mother as well….
    Recommend

  • http://fuadsdiary.blogspot.com/ Ahmad Fuad

    Well, it is a long debate. as it is yet to be decided how do bookies reach players & how did they reach.
    But we must move forward to our bright future… this is not the end of the story…
    My opion can be found here.
    http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/8780/stop-dissing-pakistan-cricket/Recommend

  • http://www.ahmadhammad.com Ahmad Hammad

    Well Well Well….
    The whole episode was though shameful, yet could be termed as a wake-up call for all of us.
    Paksitanis are falling prey to an international conspiracy. What this conspiracy is all about, you may go through this article too:
    http://www.ahmadhammad.com/articles/news-articles/the-jailed-cricketers-saddam-qaddhafi-and-zardari
    At the end of the day, we remember not the foes who shrilled at us, but the friends who remained silent, they say.
    The PCB remained silent. Was it merely an ineligibility, inability or a criminal offense? Or even a support to an international conspiracy? Let’s wake up…Recommend

  • http://www.ahmadhammad.com Ahmad Hammad

    Will the ICC investigate into the whistle-blowing of Vinod Kambli now????
    Kindly go through the article:
    http://www.ahmadhammad.com/articles/vinod-kambli-on-indian-involvement-in-match-fixingRecommend